Jon Jones is a heavy betting favorite against Anthony “Lionheart” Smith this weekend (Sat. March 2, 2019). “Bones” defends his light heavyweight championship against Smith in the main event of UFC 235 on pay-per-view (PPV). Despite being such a heavy favorite, Jones’ camp isn’t taking the challenger lightly. In fact, Jones’ coach, Greg Jackson, told “The MMA Hour” this week that the fact Smith has nothing to lose makes him very dangerous (via MMA Fighting):
“For me, the dangerous thing about Anthony Smith is he has nothing to lose, so he can really open up and risk stuff,” Jackson said. “Remember that I’ve seen some serious upsets. The very first time that I started working with Georges St-Pierre, I’d worked with him a little bit, but his head coach at the time, Victor (Vargotsky), let me be in the corner when we lost to Matt Serra, knocked him out.
“And that was not supposed to happen at all. Matt Serra won a reality show and it was one of the best Cinderella stories that I’ve ever seen. So I’ve been there when the person that was supposed to dominate gets beaten and that to me is the biggest deal. That fearlessness, that danger that he presents, because I’ve actually trained Anthony Smith. I know he’s a great fighter, I know he’s very capable.
“So he’s a guy that’s the sleeper guy, we have to take him very seriously. If we don’t, we can get in big trouble really quickly. So keeping that in mind, that’s the biggest challenge for this fight. If he loses, who cares? He can really open up, throw bombs, and do all kinds of craziness, so we have to be ready for that.”
Jones will be making his first UFC title defense since 2015. He recently won the vacant 205-pound title against Alexander Gustafsson. Jones finished the Swede in the third round on the ground via ground-and-pound at UFC 232. Now, he’ll be taking on Smith, who has had an impressive rise within the division.
Smith is currently on a three-fight win streak. His latest victory resulted in a third-round submission victory over former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. “Lionheart” also picked up wins over former champions Shogun Rua and Rashad Evans. Now, he’ll attempt to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s history this weekend.
What do you make of Jackson’s comments on Smith?